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The Best Holiday Lights Around Philly

Posted on November 28, 2018

Believe it or not, the holiday season is here. This can be a crazy time of year, but one thing that’s always wonderful is seeing so many places in and around Philly decked out in twinkling lights and festive decor. (Featured photo by @sprucestreetharborpark via Instagram)


1. Addison Street

These lights are up year-round at 17th and Addison, but it’s especially lovely to stroll down this street during the holidays. This year, expect the trees to be brighter than ever—they installed some new LED lights last year.


2. Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania

The always enchanting Morris Arboretum goes in a slightly different direction during the holidays with its Holiday Garden Railway. It’s a quarter-mile-long train track that winds through the arboretum. Tiny homes and buildings line the tracks and are lit up in holiday lights. The arboretum will be hosting special ticketed Holiday Garden Railway Nights Fridays and Saturdays through the month.


3. Boathouse Row

One of Philly’s most iconic sites is lit up in LED lights year-round, but there’s something about Boathouse Row during the holidays that makes the place feel extra special. This year, starting on December 2, the row of boathouses will light up in an array of holiday colors for the rest of the season. In addition to Christmas lights, the row will illuminate for Hanukkah on December 3 and Kwanzaa on December 26. For best views, head to the edge of Fairmount Waterworks or peer across the river from Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive.


4. Historic Houses at East Fairmount Park

Fairmount Park is filled with historic mansions, but only five of them will open up their doors this holiday season as part of the annual Very Philly Christmas. Visit each house throughout the season to take part in special events celebrating food, music, family, and friends. This year there’s a special new addition: The Lemon Hill Mansion is hosting an ice bar, where you can grab a cocktail and enjoy some ice sculptures, music, and mingling. The bar itself is even carved from ice.


5. Philadelphia Museum of Art

Climb to the top of the Rocky steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see its magnificent Christmas tree lit up in all of its holiday glory. Then, keep going through the museum’s front doors, where you’ll find the Grand Hall Staircase lined with Christmas trees, highlighting the iconic Diana sculpture gilded in copper. You can get a head start on the holidays with this one—the museum lit the tree up last week.


6. Comcast Center

Take a walk through this dreamy tree-lined sidewalk at the Comcast Center, then head inside to catch the tower’s Holiday Spectacular Show. The mesmerizing LED holiday show takes place daily at the top of the hour from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.


7. Elfreth’s Alley

One of Philly’s most iconic and instagrammable streets, Elfreth’s Alley, is a great place to take a stroll during the holiday season. The historic homes that line the charming street go all out for the holidays, somehow becoming even more charming that they already are. On Saturday, December 1, you’ll even be able to go inside some of the homes during the annual Deck the Alley event. But make sure to secure your tickets now—the event is only one of two times the homes are open to to visitors.


8. Blue Cross RiverRink

If you want to sit beneath thousands of twinkling holiday lights while being warmed by a fire, head to the Blue Cross Riverrink’s Winterfest on the Delaware River. There’s a huge Christmas tree, and all of the cozy cabins are strewn in pretty lights, too.

Original article written by Melissa Romero & Anna Merriman for Curbed Philly.

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